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Category: eating in

05/09/10 01:25 - 39ºF - ID#51529

The best cup of coffee ever.

The best cup of coffee:

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- Brew Trader Joe's house blend in any coffee machine
- Add fat-free/1% milk in blender
- Add a heaped tablespoon of mascarpone to blender
- Blend and blend till foamy
- Heat 1/2 mug blended milk in microwave for a minute
- Fill rest of the mug with brewed coffee
- Stir vigorously
- Enjoy with homemade speculoos!


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Category: science

05/09/10 09:27 - 35ºF - ID#51527

Acai Berry and the logic of creationism.

Ever wondered about the nutrient profile of the berry that promises to be the "one weird trick" and the "one ancient rule" to recurrent $80 dollar losses?

From: Schauss GA et al. Phytochemical and Nutrient Composition of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2006 54 (22), 8598-8603

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None of the claims about Acai Berry have been scientifically proved. The berry doesn't taste exceptionally awesome either. It's a berry, just like any of the zillion other berries. The people in the Amazon eat it for subsistence just like the Irish eat potatoes. A look at the nutritional profile tells you why. Eating 100 g of this berry gives you nearly 534 calories - the amount you get from 5 100g small potatoes.

The people of Amazon live in tropical forestlands and don't drive cars all the time. They probably don't have 24 hour access to pizza delivery, fast-food, potato chips and all kinds of high-sugar snacks that were heaped in the cart during a recent grocery visit. They are not being force-fed high-fructose corn syrup through EVERY conceivable product on grocery shelves. They probably eat a lot of vegetables because they don't have as many staple-cereal farmlands.

But all that doesn't really matter, correct? We could totally have a million cakes in our pantry, eat a billion more, drink a zillion bottles of this "magic berry" and voila! - we will be magically moulded in the form of the lean and fit Amazonians. Sure, and we were all created from scratch in 7 days flat. It just wasn't enough time to give us a functional brain.
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Category: opinion

05/09/10 08:19 - 35ºF - ID#51526

UB 2020 Plan?

I just read about someone called Silver blocking the Bill that would make the UB 2020 plan a "success".


An editorial and opinion column in today's Buffalo News supports Assemblyman Mark Schroeder's criticism of Speaker Sheldon Silver for blocking a bill that would free up restrictions and allow UB and other SUNY campuses to become stronger economic engines in their regions. The editorial notes Silver "seems devoted to nothing greater than maintaining the disastrous status quo" and calls the bill "good for upstate." A related column in The Buffalo News and a story on WNED-AM also look at the issue.



I didn't quite get what exactly these restrictions were. So I read the three PDFs linked out from that page.

The only sentence about the content of the bill was:

Reports are that downstate members oppose letting campuses set their own tuition rates, a key part of the bill, because it could jeopardize the ability of poor New Yorkers to go to college.



Was the bill all about tuition? Does anyone know? Why can't these news items be clear instead of a mass of run-around-in-accusatory-sentence-cycles paragraphs? If writing about politics is this confusing, it's no wonder that people don't get whatever politicians are doing in their offices or if they are doing anything at all..
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Category: art

05/02/10 03:21 - 64ºF - ID#51489

Until...

Sting sings.


The film is so comforting - like a perfect bowl of warm soup with pretty colours and crusty music to dip in. :-)
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Category: eating in

05/01/10 10:12 - 72ºF - ID#51483

Granny Smith Slices and homemade Nutella

Breakfast is a triumph today. I think I have finally perfected the art of making delicious Nutella the way I like it - without the ridiculous amounts of canola from Canada, semi-hydrogenated creepoid compounds or truckloads of sugar. As a bonus, it is mind-blowingly tasty! In four short steps, you can brute force your mornings from the nadir of suckiness to a zenith of awesome!

1. Toast a handful of hazelnuts till they are a toasty earthy brown. I guess you could roast them in the oven if you don't want to stand around stirring them. But I do like to stand around in my kitchen a LOT. I think it's the chessboard floor. There is something hypnotic about chessboards. It's like I am being checkmated by the stove but I make counter-moves and show it some aggression. Anyway, I prefer hands-on active approaches that make some noise early on weekend mornings (the better to annoy that perennially whiny hag next door who seems to think I am responsible for ALL the noise everyone else in the building makes and additionally, complains about it when I am not even in town).

Maybe it's time to get some speakers (that Chuck Norris would be proud of) and give her a flavour of what it might be like if I were in the serious business of making some REAL noise. So, how many hazelnuts, you ask? The average Nutella box proclaims that it has 50 hazelnuts to a jar. Yeah, if you didn't know any better 50 is a big number. But without the canola, sugar and dodgy hydrogenates, it makes up a paltry amount, so be generous. You could toast 50 hazelnuts and it will make nutella that lasts half a week.

2. Add the toasted hazelnuts to the blender, start blending till everything is a fine powder and sticks to the blades. That's hazelnut butter coming out.

3. Add chocolate soymilk (I used Sunrich, because I am in love with the brand) - just enough to cover the hazelnuts in the blender. Blend some more.

4. Add toasted thick and hearty steelcut oatmeal. Add a good sprinkle of flax seeds. Blend. Blend. Blend. Till it gets really creamy. Add chocolate milk at intervals till you reach the consistency of that artificial sham of a Nutella they sell here. My Oster blender does this job in around 10-15 minutes. Other blenders could be more efficient or could just break-down and die. You never know till you push their limits. So I suggest you give your blender its Nutella ultimatum today. Everyone knows that you should never wait till the kitchen apocalypse hits this planet. Every small appliance will grow extra appendages to hit you with.

That's it. Slice granny smiths (yes, other apples are just inferior. Admit it.) Spread the awesomeness of delicious Nutella on the slices and breakfast like a German!

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Category: buffalo

04/30/10 06:10 - 74ºF - ID#51481

Aggressive sisterhood.

A couple days back, my friend and I were getting in his car and driving away, when two rather cute women approached us on Linwood. They asked us if we would like to exchange cards. Turned out they were not really hookers but were out proselytizing.

I thought it was a very interesting strategy. Pick fairly attractive young people to spread your virulent message and target a younger population - not with the traditional "could you spare a minute for us" but rather "hey there! would you like to exchange cards/numbers with us (broad suggestive smile)?!"

You have to wonder at what drives these nutters to pound the pavement and attempt to convince random strangers that the strangers' families are in mortal danger if they don't belong to such and such a religion/cult-group. Maybe we should take their cue and roam the streets yelling at random people about how smoking will kill them and their friends and why they should eat more fruits and vegetables.

What really worries me is do we already sound like this? Do people listen to us politely and then go home and shake their heads about how unlikely they ever are to change their lifestyles? What does it take for people to stop, think and change? I wonder if the tipping point towards religious commitment or adopting scientific lifestyles are similar. Do personal inexplicable losses lead to a more religious outcome while scientifically explained losses lead to conscious changes in lifestyle - for the better?



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Category: goals

04/28/10 10:01 - 51ºF - ID#51469

Less things. More space!

I gave away my corner table and two chairs today. I am 3 steps closer to my absolute-minimal clutter-free goal.

My next elimination target is the pile of books, magazines and notes - about 3/4th of which I have digitized. I don't think I have ever re-read any of my class notes from mandatory coursework. I wonder why I have kept them so long. All my really useful notes and ideas are online or on the pages of books and pdfs I scribble on.

I love the wonderful feeling of living and breathing floors without those annoying chairs or that table that I didn't need anyway.
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Yeah, if you wondered, that evil clutter fairy is banned from my flat. She better quake at the sight of my curtainless windows.


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Category: flat hunt

04/22/10 07:21 - 50ºF - ID#51438

:-)


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Category: opinion

04/12/10 08:28 - 50ºF - ID#51389

We really don't have an excuse.

My advisor sent out the latest CDC statistics on obesity to our group today. This is not just true for the US. It's true for countries around the planet. In India, children who are 13 years old have myocardial infarctions and plaque-induced coronary artery disease. By 2015, India will surpass US in the number of people with Type II Diabetes and atherosclerotic diseases.

How did this happen? I can't, for a moment, believe the excuse that greater than 30% of the population is genetically prone to obesity or have comorbid conditions making us obese. Our genes have not changed that much in the past 25 years. A good proportion of us just want to believe that we are helpless because it's easier to blame genetics than take personal responsibility for the environmental inputs that we have consciously selected.



Why can't we stop this epidemic?! Is it SO hard to cultivate and maintain healthy habits? Do we always have to blame advertising and prices? Why are we waiting for a magic pill or that "one weird trick" to make it go away?!

Can't we just take one small step at a time and just say no to constant splurging on carbohydrates, snacks and processed foods? Can't we avoid buying whatever processed crap that is on display and use our discretion and good sense for once? Can't we walk a bit more and faster rather than always fire up our cars and whatnots to get anywhere and everywhere?

The one thing that we are always ready to do is spend a fortune on every new weight-loss fad that comes along. And of course, make excuses about how costly healthful food is - which it is NOT. You only have to take a stroll in the produce section of pricerite to get a general idea of how much a meal without processed food would cost.

I fall almost in the lowest earning income group in this country and I still manage to eat ALL the healthy food I want and still save. You could argue that I don't have kids and other expenses and that would be true. However, even factoring in kids and expenses, fresh food costs less than processed because processing is an overhead cost. And don't even tell me that eating fast food is cheaper - because that is another flawed perception. One "combo meal" on an average costs around $4 with taxes. For that price, you could get 1lb of carrots, 4lbs of apples, a serving of oatmeal/bulghur AND a serving of lentils. $4 can go a LOOONG way if you really want to eat healthier.

Yes. I think smoking and overeating are pretty much the same. We know the risks. We know the costs. Yet, we don't care. We are addicted AND we won't take any steps to cure the addiction. We have become a bunch of weak-minded people who comfortably get everything we want. We just can't make any resolve and stick to it.

We love food and smoking too much. We constantly feel the need to justify our addictions and assert that life isn't worth living without "little indulgences". The cost our "little indulgences" are incurring are conveniently ignored. There is no such thing as a free lunch. What it really means today is that free or not, that super-serving lunch is going to zoom right into our adipose stores, because we didn't need so much to start with and additionally, we haven't really done anything to burn it.

I am ranting because this makes me sadder than anything else. Our conceit and excuses are leading us to a catastrophe in terms of health. How can we change if we don't want to face this problem and examine our lifestyles??
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Category: eating in

04/11/10 09:00 - 48ºF - ID#51377

Super-tasty and easy cabbage stir fry

I think this is the tastiest cabbage stir fry I have EVER had in my life. It's also probably the easiest and the quickest to make. I made it from scratch in around 20 minutes - the time it takes to steam the lentils and bulghur.

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Before I forget, the exact recipe:

1. Steam brown lentils and bulghur in the rice cooker: 1:1
2. While they are steaming, add a generous amount of olive oil to the fry pan, add a pinch of cumin seeds, finely chopped garlic, green thai chillies and dried red chillies (crumbled into the oil).
3. Saute till garlic turns almost light brown. Scrape everything to a side.
4. Add chopped zucchini, sprinkle salt on it. Stir-fry for 2 min. Scrape to the side. Mix with garlic et. al.
5. Add chopped carrots, pour minimal amount of soy sauce over it. Stir fry for 2 min. Mix with everything else.
6. Add green chopped cabbage. Toss and saute with everything else. Add a little more soy sauce.
7. Add the steamed bulghur and lentils. Stir and toss till evenly mixed.
8. Turn off heat while cabbage is still crunchy.

ENJOY!
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Last Modified: 08/13/12 04:25


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